"And then," the voice said, loving, "then I'll hurt you very badly. And you will thank me, and ask for more." (Jack Randall, “Outlander” by D. Gabaldon)
The best romance villains are what stands between the hero and his/her goals. They hold power over them, use their desires to fulfil their own wishes, and almost win. Almost. The typical romance ends with the couple’s union and a satisfying happy ever after. That’s why most villains are conveniently gotten rid off as soon as this goal is achieved. Consequently, there are quite a few stereotypical fiends out there. Still, here is a very subjective list of the best romance villains:
Best Romance Villains Nr. 5: Viviana (The Lady and the Highlander)
If you liked the witch in the Disney version of Snow White, you will love this villainess. She has everything a fairy tale villain needs to have: vanity, envied of the youth she has lost, and an utter lack of conscience. She mainly marries the MacLeod laird because of his abundance of young daughters. Her plan is to use them to gain eternal youth. Unfortunately, one of her stepdaughters isn’t cooperating. She flees. Viviana sends her trusted huntsman after her. But in contrast to his mistress, this brawny Highlander has his scruples. He wants to escape Viviana’s kludges and the hold she has over him. The only obstacle in his way is the young woman’s heart. Literally. I also want to mention another villain from this series: It’s Logan from “Beauty and the Highland Beast”. He was adorably psycho, torturing his cousin by playing his sister’s ghost because he deemed him responsible for her execution.
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Best Romance Villains Nr. 4: Lloyd Fellows (The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie)
There’s nothing better than a villain who turns out to be a good guy after all. Fellows holds a secret grudge against the MadKennzie clan because they have everything he has not. Resenting the fact that they didn’t have to work for their living as he had, he does his best to destroy everything they have. First, by proposing to the hero’s love interest. Then by accusing him of murder. When the MacKenzie finally find out about the reasons for his vengeful vendetta, they manage to get him on their sides. He turns from being the villain out for blood to an asset for the hero’s release. That just goes to show that there’s nobody all bad, not even in a romance.
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Best Romance Villains Nr. 3: Lady MacAllistor (The Wedding)
If there’s something worse than an evil stepmother, it must be an evil stepmother in law. In The Wedding, Brenna is abducted by a Highlander and forced into a marriage. Her first misgivings are soon laid to rest when she discovers how much she cares for her Scottish husband. Her happiness among the MacAllister clan is somewhat disrupted by her mother in law Euphemia, the second wife of her husband’s father. She makes Brenna’s life difficult by constantly criticising her, undermining her decisions, and worst of all telling her to make her true son comfortable when he tries to rape her. She isn’t a formidable foe, but she spices up the love story between Brenna and Connor, who otherwise wouldn’t have realised his feelings so quickly.
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Best Romance Villains Nr. 2: Wackra Tops and the Captain of Durham Jail (The Highland Guardian)
We have actually two good villains in this story. On the one hand, there’s Wackra Tops, the illegitimate son of the heroine’s uncle. Trying to get hold of her inheritance, he does everything from blackmailing, kidnapping, and bringing the redcoats down upon the hero’s head. The other villain is a captain of an English prison. As a bastard son of a lord, he harbours a special hatred for the aristocracy and takes it out on our hero. I hereby congratulate the author; whose villains always turn out particularly unlikable.
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1. Best Romance Villains Nr. 1: Jack Randall (Outlander)
By far my favourite villain in Highland romance is the notorious Jack Randall. He represents the typical redcoat opponent of any Highlander during the time of the Jacobite Rising. In Diana Gabaldon’s first audiobook “Outlander” he is established as a misogynist and rapist. There’s a seriously freaky love triangle going on between the heroine Claire, her husband Jamie, and Randall. Not only is he out to get Jamie into his bed, torturing him and his wife all the while, he is actually in love with him and believes himself to have the right of it. Throughout his presence in the first two books, he plays the roles of a rapist, a lover, a persecutor, and a loving brother. You want to hate him, and yet you kind of love him for not being all bad. For all these contradictory reasons, I name Jack Randall my favourite Highland Romance villain.
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- Amazon Audiobook
- Kindle Edition
- Amazon Paperback
- Barnes and Noble
- Outlander TV Season 1 - 3
So, here you have it. Which is your favourite villain?